For Haliburton Highlands Sports Hall of Famer Anna Tomlinson, lifelong fitness has followed a stellar university and high school athletics career.

Reached in Barrie, where she now lives, Tomlinson said she was “humbled” by being selected to enter the new hall.

She still visits the area for holidays every summer even though her work took her away.

“I love Haliburton,” she said.

Tomlinson added the County offered her a “very authentic childhood” as she grew up on the shores of Boshkong Lake, on the water and spent her summers outdoors.

“It was a beautiful way to grow up. Some of those early successes in sports and learning to persevere spilled over into my professional life.”

Tomlinson was Haliburton Highlands Secondary School’s female athlete of the year three years running. She also won multiple most valuable player awards for volleyball and track and field. She captained the junior and senior volleyball team to district championships, qualified at The Ontario Federation of Schools Athletic Associations for five consecutive years in multiple track and field events, went to the Ontario championships in badminton and was also valedictorian of her 1995 graduating class.

However, her young life was not without challenge. Her father passed away when she was just 17. She said coach Paul Morissette became a mentor. With his guidance she decided to study kinesiology at York University.

At York, she was a heptathlete, competing in the grueling seven-event sport. She qualified for the Ontario University Athletics finals all four years. She was also a member of the 4×200 relay team, placing fourth at the Canadian Interuniversity Athletics Union championships. At the provincial and federal level, she also medaled in shot put.

She said she was blessed to be able to come home every summer, including working for the MNRF as a forest firefighter out of the Stanhope base which was an excellent job for summer training.

The Hall committee said, “Anna demonstrated a high intensity work ethic and sportsmanship. She was recognized as a leader who built inclusive team morale.”

As the mother of four athletic sons, the committee said she continues to be a role model in every facet of her life.

Asked about her athletic prowess, Tomlinson joked that she was blessed to be six-feet tall.

“They always say you can’t teach height.” It was at York that she also met her future husband, Darren Kenney, during track and field.

She said for her having a physical outlet has always been key. “It is such a healthy outlet … life with movement. I went to university and had a good experience, living healthy and life with movement. I can’t imagine life without it.”

Today, at 44, and working in sales, she spends plenty of time in her home gym. She said for her family, fitness is just part of their lifestyle. She still works out daily. She was also glued to the television in her down time watching the Tokyo Olympics.  

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